The Mountains of Arizona •

Dinosaur Mountain, Arizona
Dinosaur Mountain's rocky summit ridge in the early morning light. We're still on the shaded side
Dinosaur Mountain, Arizona
Now on the east side, the low sun lights everything up in this striking orange-red color!
Dinosaur Mountain, Arizona
Summit rocks up ahead
Dinosaur Mountain, Arizona
Not the summit but the first big rock outcrop needing to be climbed up and over
Dinosaur Mountain, Arizona
The summit and the ridge up. Daniel points the way
Dinosaur Mountain, Arizona
Looking south from the top
Dinosaur Mountain, Arizona
Looking north at the Supes
Dinosaur Mountain, Arizona
Another look south as we descend a sloppy gully
Dinosaur Mountain, Arizona
Dan and Mara up ahead as we hike out
Dinosaur Mountain, Arizona
Another image of the summit ridge. The summit would be the far-left rocks, although from here it does not look like it
Dinosaur Mountain, Arizona
Dromedary Peak from the northeast
Dinosaur Mountain, Arizona
Hiking to the saddle
Dinosaur Mountain, Arizona
View of the lesser western bump from the saddle
Dinosaur Mountain, Arizona
Another view of the western bump showing its south-facing cliffs
Dinosaur Mountain, Arizona
View up the slope to the main peak
Dinosaur Mountain, Arizona
We approach the one small rock band that required hands
Dinosaur Mountain, Arizona
The final few feet to the top rocks
Dinosaur Mountain, Arizona
View north at Weaver's Needle and the Supes from the summit
Dinosaur Mountain, Arizona
View east
Dinosaur Mountain, Arizona
... and view west
Dinosaur Mountain, Arizona
Mara and Dan hike down to the saddle
Dinosaur Mountain, Arizona
View of the main peak from the south
Dinosaur Mountain, Arizona
View of the peaks from the southeast
Dinosaur Mountain, Arizona
The main peak viewed from the east

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Superstition Foothills

Dinosaur Mountain • Dromedary Peak

Today's exciting hiking adventures would entail two peaks alongthe US-60 corridor south of Apache Junction and toward Superior. First, we hiked Dinosaur Mountain, a local landmark peak in the Gold Canyon development, then we followed that up with a hike up Dromedary Peak down by Florence Junction, within sight of Picketpost Mountain.

Dinosaur Mountain
• Superstition Foothills
• Gold Canyon
• Pinal County

Date: December 14, 2019 • Elevation: 2,370 feet • Prominence: 408 feet • Distance: 1.5 miles • Time: 90 minutes • Gain: 510 feet • Conditions: Sunny and lovely • Teammates: Dan Fleischman, Mara


Dinosaur Mountain is a small hill topped with impressive rock cliffs, located in the town of Gold Canyon, which adjoins Apache Junction. Dan Fleischman suggested this hike, along with nearby Dromedary Peak, as part of his Meetup groups. I was interested in both peaks so I elected to join. It would be just three of us: me, Dan and his friend Mara.

We met at 7:15 a.m. in the Basha's parking lot in Gold Canyon, then drove in my car a mile south on US-60, and a mile east on Kings Ranch Road, to the Gold Canyon Golf Course parking lot. The mountain is just north of the road, surrounded by the golf course and other nearby homes. I'm old enough to remember when this was all undeveloped desert.

We parked in an upper lot, no apparent restrictions to the public. We got things together and I locked the car, and we started walking about 7:30 a.m.. We found the trailhead near a helipad, and started walking. The trail is rocky but in good shape, and generally heads north, on the west-facing slopes of the mountain.

We followed the trail for about a quarter mile to where it gained up to a saddle, where there are two benches. There is a rock outcrop to the south, and there were a couple people sitting on it, watching the sunrise. Our objective was still a ways to the north.

Past the bench, we started in on a scanter path, obviously not developed, and this path fed us onto the east-facing slopes, where the low sun lit up everything in beautiful orange and red colors. We could see the summit up ahead, the highest of three rounded rocks, with fifty-foot cliffs on the east side.

The trail by now was barely discernible. Whatever it was we were following was steep and full of loose rock. We inched our way north and then up to a second higher saddle. Dan and Mara were about a minute ahead of me and by the time I got to the saddle, they had scampered up a rock rib to top out on a rocky peak, about 50 feet higher.

I took a look at what they had done and decided I did not like it. It sloped too much and was full of loose smaller rock. I did not want to hold them up so I said to go on, I'll figure something out. The summit was in view from where they stood so they could easily run and tag it while I futzed around.

I climbed down the west side a little bit, then worked around a rock barrier and up a messy slope of loose rock. Others have been here, judging by the barest of a path seen here. I was able to get into a little perch, where I studied my options. By now, Dan and Mara were coming down, and Dan showed me what he had done. I was able to get up a four-foot "wall" and onto the rock itself.

Dan was gracious enough to repeat what they had just done. The next segment was a chute, gaining about 40 feet. This chute was steep but protected. However, the rock was loose. Even the rock walls were disconcertingly loose, as I pulled off a couple small flakes without trying too hard.

Once atop the chute, the summit was just right there, another hundred feet of walking with about 30 feet of gain. We walked a narrow catwalk of rock, one segment narrow enough that I decided to scoot by it on all fives. Now below the summit rock, I followed another steep and loose slope of rock to gain the topmost ridge, then to the summit. It felt good to be here. I snapped a couple quick images, then started back down.

The downclimb went better as I could face out the entire time and manage my movement better. At that narrow catwalk segment, I actually crossed it "au cheval", straddling it with one leg on one side, the other leg on the other. The exposure here was moderate, about ten or fifteen feet to the deck below. But that was enough to get my attention. I was able to scoot down the lower chute quickly, and we were all assembled again. Thanks to Dan for repeating the last bit with me while I was figuring out what to do.

We hiked out generally the same route, the sun higher by now. The scenery is fantastic with impressive cliffs, and the sweep of the Superstition Mountains to the north and east. We were back to my car about 9 a.m., a 90-minute hike. The total distance was short, a mile and a half, with a little over 500 feet of gain.

I'd rate the scrambling portions a mix of class 2 and some class 3. There were a couple spots where exposure was enough to be extra careful, but the most annoying aspect was the loose rock, which made every move just a shade more challenging. Otherwise, it was a fine short hike with great views from the top.

I drove us south about 15 miles to our next objective, Dromedary Peak.

Dromedary Peak
• Superstition Foothills
• Arizona State Trust Lands
• Pinal County

Elevation: 3,016 feet • Prominence: 576 feet • Distance: 3.5 miles • Time: 2 hours • Gain: 1,070 feet • Conditions: Sunny and clear


Dromedary Peak is a distinctive peak with two noticeable humps connected by a saddle. The peak lies near where US-60 starts to ascend from the desert floor into the hills approaching Superior. These hills would be, to me, the southern foothills of the Superstitions. Most of the land here is owned by the state, so I had my state lands permit with me. Most people who come here are target shooters.

We found an entrance onto a dirt track off of US-60. There are a couple to choose from, we took the eastern one. The track goes in quite a ways, but I only drove in about 300 feet, parking in a cleared area before the road dropped into a rocky wash. We were about a mile from the eastern summit, the actual peak itself (the western summit is about a hundred feet lower than the eastern summit).

We followed a good cow trail through the desert, roughly paralleling the mountain, for about a quarter-mile, then cut corss-country on a general beeline toward the saddle. The terrain was open and gently sloped, with lots of cactus and brush, but always a lane to move through. The cows had beaten in paths everywhere.

As we gained elevation, we had to also cross a few drainages, which were easy. However, the ground was still moist, even though it had been a few days since the last rain. Sometimes a rock would come out from under me from the loose soil. We picked our way upward to the saddle. A few cows would get scared of us and run ... upward toward the saddle.

We arrived to the saddle and took a small break. The day was beautiful, with blue skies and cool temperatures. We then started up the slopes to the top. The slopes down low were open and easy to scale. The grade would steepen by degrees, but was never unnecessarily steep. The open country soon meets jumbles of rocks and low rock bands.

The lower rocks were easy to bypass or clamber through. The natural line to follow was to stay as high as possible, which worked well. Up ahead was a low rock wall, about 20 feet tall. However, there was a cleft in it that led to a ramp. The initial step into the cleft was about a five-foot hoist. Once above that, the ramp was easy, if a little brushy. However, it was fast, and we noted its location so we could find is easily on the way down.

Once above the rock wall, the remaining fifty feet or so went fast. We weaved through rocks and brush and arrived onto the broad summit, the highest point atop a big rock with a cairn and register. It had taken us about an hour to get here, covering a little more than a mile.

We took a break here to look around. We had excellent views in all directions. We could see the cliffs of the western Superstition Mountains, Weavers Needle, and Mound Mountain. Picketpost Mountain, which is close by, was actually hidden by hills to the east. We could make out Newman Peak, Table Top and Gu Achi Peak, among many other distant summits. The summit log was in bad shape. Someone had taken the top off the jar. The booklet was all wet. I set it back in such a way to keep the moisture out but I doubt it will survive until the next person happens upon it.

For the hike down, we followed our route through the rocks and that ramp, back to the saddle. Dan wanted to descend down the south slopes and circle back to the car that way. We dropped down and generally moved southeasterly, the road being down there somewhere. The descent was easy and offered more opportunities for photos from different angles.

At some point, Dan and Mara dropped more to the south while I angled more east and stayed higher, circling around the eastern summit on its rocky apron, having to regain about a hundred feet to get to a pass that connects Dromedary to the hills to the east. I never saw the road but was not concerned about being off route. I was enjoying the random hiking.

Once at the pass, I could see things better, including cars on the US-60. I was able to see the road now, but I had to drop into a 40-foot deep drainage, then back out, to get to it. It was sloppy but not difficult. I had not heard nor seen Dan and Mara in about a half hour, but then I heard Dan calling once I got onto the road. They had met the road somewhere earlier and I was ahead of them.

I walked back to the car, and five minutes later, Dan and Mara walked up. The round trip covered about 3.5 miles, of which about 2.3 miles were for the descent and the round-about walk. However, it was scenic and worth the extra effort. We were back a little before noon, or roughly a two-hour hike, which surprised me because it felt it had been longer.

From here, I drove us back to the Basha's on Kings Ranch and the US-60 to drop of Dan and Mara. They had one more hike planned, while I headed home. I was pleased to get this peak done as it was one I had been looking at for a few years now. It was never on my priority list, but when Dan suggested it, I took advantage of the opportunity. I was happy to hike with Dan again and to meet Mara for the first time. It was a good group.

(c) 2019 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience.